Picnic Food in the Wintertime…

Hello! It’s been a while since I posted. But that doesn’t mean I have fallen off the wagon, I’ve just been busy! In fact things have been going very well on the health front. I am hoping to post more about that soon.

In the meantime, I have a much less important success story to tell. I have been trying for literally months to make a successful black bean burger. Okay, this was only my third or fourth attempt, but none of them were really up to par until now. I had several goals for these black bean burgers, and you wouldn’t think any of them would be particularly hard to meet and yet, these elements have been elusive.

First, the burgers needed to stick together, like burgers are supposed to do. Second they needed to be healthy. It would have been a lot easier with eggs, cheese and flour but I was really trying to keep it strict. Third, despite the restrictions, they needed to taste good, obviously!

Vegan Black Bean Burger with Avocado Cream
Vegan Black Bean Burger with Avocado Cream

I love a good veggie burger. I haven’t eaten red meat since I was a stubborn and precocious nine year old, so I have no frame of reference for cheeseburger deliciousness. But veggie burgers, the good ones, I dig ’em. Unfortunately the best ones are all grains and cheeses without a lot of nutritional redemption. Black bean burgers are one exception, but I remain skeptical of the frozen ones. Even though they say “organic”…I just thought it would be nice to make one, so that I knew the entire cast of ingredients.

This, in my opinion, went pretty well. They are not all that complicated and, like I said, they are vegan and super healthy. The entire batch total is around 860 calories, with 52 grams of protein, 30 grams of fiber, and only 3 grams of fat. For the whole thing! So if you make five burgers, each one is going to be 172 calories, but 10.5 grams of protein, 6 grams of fiber and virtually fat-free. That, my friends, is what we call a nutrient dense food.

Of course, I cheated and put some shredded white cheddar on top of mine (I’m not a Robot!), and the avocado cream adds some fat. But the good kind! Anyway, I really enjoyed it. The key to making something this healthy is adding a lot of spices. The lack of any sugar or fat is noticeable, but if the flavor is good enough, it shouldn’t be a problem.

Vegan Black Bean Burger with Avocado Cream*

Prep: 15 (not including quinoa cook time) mins Cook: 30 mins Serves: 5-6


  • 2 Cans Organic Black Beans (or 3 Cups)
  • 1/2 Cup Organic Corn (Frozen & Defrosted or Fresh)
  • 1/2 Cup Quinoa (Cooked)
  • 1/4 Cup Anaheim Pepper, Chopped
  • 1/4 Cup White Onion, Chopped
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 1/4 Cup Matchstick Carrots (or Minced in food processor)
  • 2 Tablespoons Tomato Sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
  • 3 Tablespoons Panko Bread Crumbs
  • 2 teaspoons Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Chili Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Black Pepper


  1. If you need to cook the quinoa, do that first. Add 1/4 cup dry quinoa and 2/3 cup water or broth to medium saucepan, bring to boil, then reduce eat, cover and let simmer until water is completely evaporated. Stir occasionally.
  2. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  3. Rinse and drain both cans black beans, keep separate, and lay on a paper towel to dry. You’ll want nearly all of the moisture gone.
  4. Add chopped pepper, onion and the garlic cloves to a food processor. Pulse until they are minced and mixed. Add in one can’s worth of beans. Mix in FB until the consistency is like a paste or thick bean dip. You can add a bit of water or olive oil if it seems too dry.

    Black bean paste: don't be discouraged by the lack of aesthetic appeal.
    Black bean paste: don’t be discouraged by the lack of aesthetic appeal at this point.
  5. Next, add in all the rest of the ingredients except for the rest of the beans. Mix all together.
  6. Stir in the remaining beans. Stir again.
  7. Grease a non-stick oven-friendly frying pan, or if you don’t have one of those, a baking sheet will be okay. Spoon the mixture onto the pan/sheet, then use the back of the spoon to help shape into a patty.
  8. Bake at 425°F for 30 minutes, flipping them at around the 20 minute mark.

Avocado Cream

  • 1 Avocado
  • 1/4 Cup 0% Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha

Finely dice avocado and scoop into a bowl. Add Sriracha and Greek Yogurt. Mash together and stir until blended.

Avocado Cream
Avocado Cream

*Note that the avocado cream is not vegan, just the burger is. Sorry! But, you could substitute soy yogurt for Greek, or just add the sriracha to an avocado and mash away.

You can serve the burgers however you prefer. I served them on English muffins with a little bit of shredded cheddar, spinach, tomato slices and the avocado cream. I really enjoyed it. It felt like eating something fun and off limits, but really, really wasn’t. That’s the best kind of food!

vegan burger open


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Healthy recipes and all my thoughts about physical and mental health.

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